The Washington State Legislative session is nearing a close this March. There have been many issues discussed that can impact Washington state, but two in particular have the ability to directly impact the lives of those young people living in foster care.
The first bill is SB 2126 which calls for all dependents of the State to have representation through a Guardian ad Litem or G.A.L. These positions are court appointed and their job is to represent and advocate the youth in care. Often times the child is too young or unaware of their rights to communicate what they need. This bill would require all youth from care to have a G.A.L present is all court proceedings. This could really shape the lives of so many children in Washington state. Hopefully, children being reunited with their biological families could happen more frequently, and hopefully children would spend less time bouncing around the system. I also hope this bill will keep children from being switched from home to home without cause.
This bill is being pushed through by Pierce County's own Senator Steve O'Ban. It is very exciting that one of our own residents is taking the health and safety of those in care seriously. Great to see this on the floor.
The second bill is HB 2335 which calls for youth in the foster care system at the age of 18 to have the option of extend foster care until age 21. This would need to be something that the young adult agrees to participate in, but it would provide a lot of benefits. Most students that I have worked with can't wait to get out of the foster care system at age 18. They are quick to start living on their own, and with good reason. The system can be cruel and often not working for the betterment of the young people it serves. This bill however, would provide some opportunities for those that choose to participate in it. It would extend medical care, provide case management, continue housing in a foster home and many other items. These resources could provide added stability while a young person is pursing college.
The biggest expense that I see for our students is housing. If housing was already provided through the state, then the extra funds a student may get from financial aid, Passport scholarship or Educational Training Voucher could be used for savings, extra school costs and other needs. It would definitely increase the success rate of the young people that would be pursuing school during the period of 18 to 21.
I hope that both of these bills get approved and that young people in foster care of all ages can be better served by the state to help them become successful adults.
February 24, 2014
I recently came across this exciting event for students who are coming from the foster care system. Here is the agenda I have found and here is some information about it:
The Career Institute only happens once a year. Don’t miss out!
- Learn how to ignite your potential, beat out the competition and break through the barriers to succeed in your career.
- Connect and network with top Puget Sound employer partners from a variety of fields who are looking for candidates like YOU.
- Reconnect with your CSF Scholar and Alumni friends and build new relationships for your future.
When: Saturday April 5, 2014 | 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Where: Microsoft Campus (Redmond), Conference Center
Register now for the 8th Annual Career Institute at Microsoft. Space is limited so reserve your spot today!
January 27, 2014
I just got an email about a new change that Washington has made for the new year. Starting January 1, all youth who have been in care are able to re-enroll into Medicaid for medical coverage until the age of 26. Here are the details
Medicaid To 26
Beginning January 1, 2014, former foster youth may be eligible for continued Medicaid benefits until their 26th birthday!!!
Am I eligible? (You must be able to answer “YES” to both of the statements below)
1. I am currently in foster care or other eligible out-of-home placement and under age 21.
2. On July 22, 2007, I was in foster care or other eligible out-of-home placement under the responsibility of DSHS or a federally recognized tribe within Washington State.
“Other eligible out-of-home placements” include:
ü Licensed foster and relative care
ü Tribal foster care
ü ICPC foster care in Washington State
ü Dependency Guardianships established prior to June 2010
ü Other foster care (unlicensed, court ordered placements)
Note: Youth in the Adoption Support program are not eligible for Medicaid under this benefit.
What else do I need to know?
§ If you turned 21 years of age before January 1, 2014, you could be eligible for Medicaid until your 26th birthday. Contact the Foster Care Medical Team (FCMT) to see if you are eligible. DO NOT apply for medical coverage (Medicaid) through the www.healthplanfinder.gov website.
§ On your 21st birthday, the FCMT will automatically enroll you into a Medicaid managed care plan. You may contact the FCMT if you want to change to a different plan.
§ Ensure the Foster Care Medical Team always has your correct mailing address!!
§ This benefit is for Medicaid eligibility only. You must apply for TANF and food assistance at your local Community Services Office.
§ KEEP your ProviderOne Services Card – you do not need a new card or ProviderOne number to be eligible for this program.
§ If your Medicaid eligibility is interrupted because you are in jail or detention, or if you are enrolled in Pregnancy Medical, contact the FCMT to see if you are still eligible for the Medicaid to 26 program.
What if I have questions or I lose my ProviderOne Services Card?
Call the Foster Care Medical Team (FCMT) using the following directions:
The phone system is very sensitive so make sure there isn’t a lot of noise around you.
1. Dial: 1-800-562-3022 - Extension 15480 (do not dial the extension until prompted)
2. Stay on the line.
3. Say, “Dial” when the system asks you if you have an extension.
4. When the system asks if you are a “client, provider, or other.” DO NOT respond to this question; just press “3” on your phone.
5. The system will say it is transferring you and then ask you to dial the extension number.
6. Dial the FCMT extension number - 15480.
The FCMT uses interpreter services when needed. These instructions also apply to non-English speaking youth.
January 22, 2014
There is a new scholarship opportunity for those students who are pursuing the STEM field - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. If you are in of those programs at CPTC you should click here to see if you meet the requirements. Deadline for applications is February 24th, 2014. Again, click here for the site.
Eligibility requirements from their website:
Eligibility requirements from their website:
- Must be a Washington state resident (as defined in RCW 28B.15.012)
- Must have earned a high school diploma or GED from a Washington state high school or institution by June 2014.
- Must be enrolling in an eligible Washington state college or university fall term 2014.
- Must be pursuing an eligible high-demand major (by alphabet; by category) in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) or health care.
- Must be working toward a first bachelor’s degree, (i.e. four-year degree).
- Must be enrolling as a first-year college student, as a sophomore or as a first term junior fall 2014.
- Must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) through fall quarter or semester 2013 of at least 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale).
- Must submit the 2014-15 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov by February 24, 2014.
- Must apply for Federal Education tax credits if eligible.
- Must have a family income (adjusted gross income plus all untaxed income) less than or equal to 125% of Washington state median family income. (Note: Unless you qualified to submit the FAFSA as an independent student, the family income amounts are those reported by your parent(s) on your 2014-2015 FAFSA).